The vino files: how to get the most out of a glass

Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:27pm EST
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By Leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bargains for the world's great wines may not be easy to come by but experts believe value can be found at any price point and to suit any preference or palate.

Whether it is buying second label wines -- the younger cousins of the grand chateaux -- or vintages from lesser known regions or countries, they say bargains are there for those who know where to look.

"Given the price of top growth Bordeaux, one way to get a reasonable bang for your buck is in the second labels," said Jennifer Simonetti-Bryant, the author of "The One Minute Wine Master: Discover 10 Wines You'll Like in 60 Seconds or Less."

Second label wines from the Bordeaux region's major houses usually represent 90 percent of the quality for less than half the price. A 1996 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauilliac can be found for about $650 a bottle, while the chateau's second label, Carruades de Lafite '96, sells for about $100 a bottle.

For cheaper priced wines experts suggest a fourth-growth Bordeaux, Chateau Prieure-Lichine Margaux 2009, which sells for about $60 a bottle while its sister, Confidences de Prieure-Lichine Margaux 2009 has a price tag of about $28.

Christian Moueix, who makes the most expensive Bordeaux in the world, Chateau Petrus, which sells for about $1,000 a bottle, also produces Christian Moueix Merlot that can be had for under $20 a bottle.

Simonetti-Bryant, one of 300 people worldwide who is holds the qualification of Master of Wine, described second labels as "often wines made from younger vines, but it's the same terroir and the same high-quality producer."

Mike DeSimone, who with Jeff Jensen is a co-author of the just published "Wines of the Southern Hemisphere," suggests when ordering wine at a restaurant to steer away from the most well-known appellations or regions such as Bordeaux or Burgundy.   Continued...